Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learning to teach nothing in particular

An article on how to improve ed schools:

Learning to teach nothing in particular

It's no secret that we strongly support national standards for America's schools—primarily because we see this approach as the most likely route to higher standards. (And the Common Core didn't disappoint on that score.) But there are many ancillary benefits, too. Among them: the potential that education schools might actually be able to train their candidates to teach a particular body of knowledge. As David Cohen explains in a new essay in the American Educator, teacher preparation in the pre-Common Core era focused on processes above content, offering generic references to "competence" and little more than vapid guidance in teaching reading, writing, and mathematics. After all, many ed schools sent teachers to multiple states, each with their own standards—a irrelevant problem for other countries with national curricula. It made little sense for them to dive instruction down below the 30,000 foot level. But now, leading programs can do just that—they can teach aspiring high school English teachers, for instance, how to help students master the Common Core English standards. How about that? We might have finally found a uniquely American solution to a uniquely American problem.

"Learning to Teach Nothing in Particular: A Uniquely American Educational Dilemma," by David K. Cohen, American Educator, Winter 2010-2011.

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